Where do Lions Live: A Look into their Habitats
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A few centuries ago, lions used to roam through most of the Earth. In fact, they were the second most populous land mammals after human beings themselves! Lately, due to centuries of hunting and poaching, the number of lions has sharply dwindled and now just a small number exist in some specific areas of the Earth. It is quite the harsh decline for the famous King of the Jungle. However, in the places they do still occupy, lions are often the apex predators and right at the top of the food chain. Taking a look at their habitat might just reveal an amusing inconsistency about their title. But first, let’s take a look at the places lions still rule over.
Though they roamed most of the Earth in times gone by, lions nowadays occupy just two regions in the entire world. These regions are sub-Saharan Africa and the Gir Forest in India. Before, lions used to exist all around Asia and Europe with fossils being found in places ranging from Germany to Turkey to North America. However, due to the expansion of human communities, lions have either been pushed from their habitats or been exterminated. This has resulted in almost total extinction of the Asiatic Lion.
Unlike what their title suggests, lions are not really kings of any jungles. In fact, they normally live in grasslands. Indeed, the entirety of the African lion population is located in savannahs and grassland habitats. Lions are not good at climbing and neither are they able to camouflage in forests, making them highly unlikely inhabitants of forests. In grasslands, lions have the freedom to properly explore and mark their territory along with using the best of their abilities and body to hunt food. In India, the forest of Gir is a dry thorn forest and cannot be called a jungle. Lions normally live in prides that can number around 25 lions at the most, and cover an area of around 100 square miles as their territory. Maybe “King of the Grasslands” was either booked or does not sound good enough.
Moreover, the tradition of associating lions with dens is incorrect. Lions do not live or sleep in dens, they do so beneath trees in the grasslands. Female lions, however, tend to hide out in dens while giving birth and stay there for a while in order to protect their cubs. These popular misconceptions have made their way into every single person’s head and have now become synonymous with lions.
Lions may not be the king of jungles, but they are still the most prominent predator in the African grasslands. Although lion numbers have been dwindling for years, the prominence it holds for both its habitat and those inspired by its sheer magnificence is unchanged. Lions are easily one of the most recognizable animals in the entire world, whether it be for a terrified gazelle or an awe-inspired little human kid.